In the days since police in Ferguson, Mo., named Darren Wilson as the officer who shot and killed unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown, a small, quiet counter-protest, taking place mostly online, has arisen far from the angry, noisy nightly protests roiling Ferguson.
Two Facebook groups, both supporting Wilson, have appeared. Between them, they had more than 36,500 "Likes" as of early Tuesday. Supporters also created a GoFundMe.com group aimed at raising $100,000 for Wilson's family. "We stand behind Officer Darren Wilson and his family during this trying time in their lives," a statement on the site said. One donor, who identified herself as Nancy Lawson, pledged $20 and wrote, "Thank you, officer Wilson, for risking your life so we can live in a safe world. I am praying for you."
The site's administrators told USA Today they ultimately disabled comments on the site in an attempt "to stop the negative comments." As of Tuesday, four days after police identified Wilson as the officer involved in the Aug. 9 shooting, about 500 donors had pledged nearly $20,500.
On Facebook, a commenter who identified himself as Mike Allgire said, "As a retired police officer, I would have shot him also." Allgire added, "The police are not out there to see who can wipe who, but to keep the peace. With a person the size of Mr. Brown, there is no doubt I would have taken the same action. Police officer's have an old saying; 'I would rather be judged by 12 than carried by six.' "
One Facebook site, "I Support Officer Wilson," posted a statement Tuesday that said: "The death of Michael Brown is a tragic event. We all must deal with this in our own personal way. However, throughout this trying time we must remember the men and women of law enforcement are neighbors, fathers, mothers, sons and daughters. Law enforcement officers are a part of the very fabric of our communities we ask them to protect. In times like this, they, too, need to know that the community is behind the work they do for us and that we in the community appreciate all their countless hours of service."